"A few months in the life of" at European Lab, Lyon, France

Text spoken during European Lab, Carté blanche a Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, in Lyon (May 8th, 2018). For a full recorded livestream of the discussion, moderated by Radna Rumping, Reinier Klok, Arik Kornweitz and Ivan Cheng you can go to this link: https://www.europeanlab.com/en/carte-blanche-a-ja-ja-ja-nee-nee-nee/

Special thanks to Laurent Bigarella, part of the organizers on site, and Gaetan Clement and Tony Noël, photographers documenting the talk.

“Time can be a torturous thing. The past few weeks, I’ve felt the crush of time as the date of this talk has crept in closer, my orientation towards time has shifted as I considered the orientation of relationships old and new, as I’ve felt the push of my own ambition, and grappled with endings and beginnings, past, present and future. My time twists into distorted shapes, it creeps and stretches - and it always passes. This talk comes from the need to understand the diagrams around which a life is constructed, from the anxiety provoked by a perceived imperative to move along a progressive teleology of success or family life, from questions of how to reconcile with the objects of desire that pull us forward, backward and sideways in time. And all these questions of time have brought about questions of happiness.”

A delicate time: queer temporality in Torpor

by Helen Stuhr-Rommereim

February 15th - Municipal Elections, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Starting this election year the municipality of Amsterdam allowed and encouraged the citizens of its neighborhoods to enter the election process as individuals or setup individual lists in order to become advisors. Being an advisor means you can influence the expansion, composition, future plans of where you live in Amsterdam.

With 10 signatures from neighbors and a bit of jumping through the hoops, I applied and entered the election process as an artist for the neighborhood of Bos en Lommer, in Amsterdam West, where I spent most of my stay since getting here from Romania in 2012. I had no actual prior political experience although it might have helped that, before arriving to the Netherlands, I was engaged to a political advisor.

Nothing is truly coincidental.

My list number in the elections was 33. That’s also how old I’ll be this year.

My aim was simple, I hoped that, if nothing else, my run could spark a further dialogue about the definition of what an Amsterdammer is, as well as an artist.

March 22nd - Manifest Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

Hi Alina,

I started an informal gallery: printing and exhibiting prints, manifesto-posters. These are distributed then for free in various places where I end up traveling - it’s a gallery “to go”, if I may call it that. It’s financed by me, it’s non-profit, and it has a next stop in Bratislava in May-June.

It would be my pleasure if I could get you on board. If you’re interested I can send over more details. Your participation would be an honour and it would add to the value of the initiative.

March 24th - Elections results, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The 2018 elections brought with it 12 qualified political organizations that can take part in forming a coalition.

The lead is taken by GroenLinks, away from D66 and also marking a break from the parties which represented the majority voice in Amsterdam. PVDA and SP (Labour and Socialist parties) used to hold the reins for generations. Maybe it’s time for a revaluation, by looking at the overall map, of what Amsterdam stands for. In my honest opinion, wide eyed and new to the discussion, these values seem to have changed towards inclusion, but also toward highlighting, in equal measure, a fear of change. And without trying to argue for change for the sake of change, an acknowledgement of diversity and finding ways to negotiate rather than to impose a future should be the city priorities.

And as for me?

Through whatever witchcraft I received 81 votes.

If this would have been a small scale opening, it would have accounted for a decent turn-out.

Sadly, it wasn’t.

April 8th - Open Forum, Oslo, Norway

In tonight’s talk, the emphasis will be on the role of the artist and art production in the liberal economy - comparing notes on hourly rates, amounts of unpaid labor etc. The dream of the freelancer is to be free to choose interesting jobs, to move between fields, and stay flexible, mobile and encouraged - and still have time to work on “their own work”. It is a position that came from the creative field, but has since been adopted into new fields as a way for the market to disassemble safer working conditions in exchange for lower employee costs: cutting away benefits, health insurance, pension etc.

Alina Lupu is a conceptual artist based in Amsterdam with a bachelors degree from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, as well as a degree in psychology and sociology from Spiru Haret University, Bucharest. Lately, her focus has been on precarious conditions of living and working within the art world. Resulting in, for instance, signing up for the local elections, or creating a fake food delivery bike service with neutral uniforms, or reenacting a cleaning performance with cleaners hired through Helpling, a platform economy app (like foodora for professional cleaning) - works of art, but also part of Alina’s day-to-day life, who is currently riding her bike for Deliveroo delivering food - a company recently plagued by strikes for better working conditions.

April 19th - email, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Hi Alina, hope all is well.

I was wondering, could you make some pictures one afternoon this week of some paintings and sculptures in my gallery?

It would be approx 10-12 works.

Can you do it for this 80 euros you mentioned last time? Would you like a new hourly rate? I have a small budget but like to keep working with you.

I would need the pictures rather quick: before friday noon.

May 1st, Deliveroo, Amsterdam

Hi Alina,

With this email we want to inform you that your contract will be automatically terminated today. Therefore, from this day on you cannot carry out activities as employee of Deliveroo anymore. We want to thank you for your time and effort!

In case you want to work as a freelancer with Deliveroo based on a service agreement, you can find more information below. We have shared most of this information previously via email or during our information sessions. If you have any further questions, please send an email to freelancer@deliveroo.nl.

Kind regards,

Team Deliveroo

May 3rd - Low Text, Berlin

Alina Lupu notes „a side-job is not an abstraction.” It is a starting point to talk about the precarious life of a maker: side jobs and applications for residencies. A stage designer in the morning, artist by day and a food delivery courier in the evening - the variety of temp jobs collected on the way starts to demand a few pages just to be described. Yet this state is too common to be just personal. It’s a shared reality for most of us. Should this job position be listed in your application? And where should it go? And why? While one is busy mastering survival skills by flexing the muscles of one’s identity - and at times their actual muscles -, the artist's labor is on discount.

May 4th - Motto Distribution, Berlin

In 1992 the Dutch artist Job Koelewijn staged "The cleaning of the Rietveld Pavilion", performed by three women from his family, dressed in traditional Dutch costumes from the village of Spakenburg.

25 years later, Koelewijn's work is re-examined by conceptual artist Alina Lupu and re-enacted with a neoliberal twist. In her interpretation, family ties have disappeared and cleaning is now done according to the rules of the "platform economy".

May 6th - Poké Perfect - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dear Alina,

Thank you for your message. The team liked you and the your work ethic. We would like to offer you a contract for the Prinsengracht location.

intro for starters

Hi there!

Welcome to Poké Perfect. Whether you want to try one of our signature bowls or whether you prefer to create your own bowl of perfection – at Poké Perfect - Hawaiian inspired food -, anything is possible.

Before starting your first shift, we would like to go through some things with you that are very important to us.


Our work uniform is dark jeans/pants with a white or black t-shirt. We provide the aprons. You must also wear closed shoes. The kitchen can be slippery, so rubber soles are advised. Please take note of this and come to work dressed appropriately.

How to wear your hair

- Always wear your hair in a tight bun (no pony tails!)

- Wear a hair band

- Avoid any loose hair in total

- We love pets, but please avoid bringing the hair of yours to our premises.

Clock in & out

You have to clock in and out for every shift you work. The moment you have your apron on (so not before that!) check in with your thumb print on the screen in the kitchen.. The first time doing so, ask a shift leader to help you register in the system. Also, don’t forget check out! Very important.


Shifts starting at 09.00 (minimum 6 hours) → You will get a half hour break, in which you are welcome to eat a poké bowl.

Shifts starting 17.00 or later → You will not get a break to eat, so if you think you will be hungry, come in at 16.30 and have a bowl. It is not allowed to take food home after your shift. Thus, if you want to eat, come in early.

Finally, the vision of Poké Perfect

- Quality

- Speed

- Consistency

We aim to achieve speed through working as a real team. Customers should be in and out. Remember, customer is king! Delivery orders should be made within minutes after printing out the receipt. We have timed it, and it is possible! The quicker we are, the higher we are in the ranking of UberEATS, Deliveroo, Foodora and Thuisbezorgd.

We maintain consistency by always serving the same quantities and portions of all ingredients in the bowls. To make this process easier, all ingredients have their dedicated measuring spoon. One scoop of everything is enough. We find it very important that our customers know what to expect.

Most importantly: The poke bowl is your canvas.

May 8th - European Lab, Lyon, France

Useful information

Move in the city

List of taxis

Taxi Lyonnais; Taxi Radio, Chauffeur Privé, Uber

Subway, bus & tramway



Velov, Indigo Wheel

Eat in the city

Références: À la Piscine, Brasserie Georges, Café Sillon

French gastronomy: Têtedoie, Takao Takano, La mère Brazier

Bistronomy: Bistrot du potager, Troquet des sens, La Bijouterie, Les Apothicaires, Le Substrat, Le Kitchen Café

Vegan: Hank Burger, Against The Grain, Toutes Les Couleurs

Delivery apps

Deliveroo, Foodora

I will never not feel at home in the world

Need help?

Emergency number: 112

April 6th, 2011 – Changing artist’s practices - an essay by Maaike Luwaert

“There he stands, the artist. Alone in his studio, in front of an easel, paintbrush at the ready. Sometimes a model is present, or a sleeping dog. The light is divine, the silence and concentration tangible. That is where it happens, in that studio, in that peace and solitude masterworks are conceived. We are all familiar with this classic and romanticised image of the artist. It has been immortalised in paintings such as The artist in his studio (1629) by Rembrandt van Rijn or The art of painting (1664) by Johannes Vermeer. Opposite of this image is that of the contemporary artist. Just as much a construction, often not averse to romanticising either. In this update, the easel is replaced by a laptop, the artist (who can now also be a woman!) is seated at a large table covered with books and papers. There is no longer a model, sometimes there is an assistant, a studio companion, or a sleeping cat. If the romance in the first image consisted of the divine silence in which the genius had ample space, the second image focuses on the independent flex worker who, with the laptop under his/her arm, can work everywhere at any time.

There are few occupations about which there exist so many misunderstandings as about that of the artist. Artists are envied because they “just do whatever they like” or they are taunted because they “don’t have a job”. There are also few occupations of which the outside image contrasts so starkly with the experience of the artist himself. Seen by outsiders as merrymakers, or as people who turned their hobby into their job (sadly, still an often heard prejudice), on the inside artists are often dominated by tiredness, always working, never enough money. This misunderstanding is partly connected to the fact that working has become synonymous with an employment, a contract under which a predetermined number of working hours is cashed in by means of an agreed-upon monthly transfer. Artists work, have work but are by definition not paid or underpaid for this. Artists do not work under employment, are not hired, do not receive temporary contracts and can therefore not be legally unemployed. No matter how awkward the old image of the genius artist in the studio might seem, a lot of people still take it to be the essence of the true artist’s practice. This only increases the confusion and the misunderstandings. For, does this mean that the studioless artists of our digital era are no artists? Does tangible material (paint, clay, marble, …) have to be used to be taken seriously as an artist?

Both stereotypical images of the artist, let us jokingly call them the easel artist and the laptop artist, are evidently fictional in the sense that they are representing archetypes or caricatures.

Both then and now, there have been endless variations on the artist’s practice.”

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